Fitzpatrick’s bill supports recent graduates until U.S. economy rebounds

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on April 10 introduced bipartisan legislation to permit 2020 college graduates to defer their federal student loans for three years due to high unemployment triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In these uncertain times, jobs are down and students are learning through video conferences,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. “Graduating from college, looking for a job, and paying off student loans are stressful enough, and we need to do what we can to help students succeed.”

Rep. Fitzpatrick on Friday introduced the COVID-19 Graduate Relief Act with six other cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA).

The U.S. Senate’s companion bill, the same-named S. 3556, was introduced on March 20 by U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).

“By allowing this year’s graduates to defer their student loan payments for up to three years, our bipartisan legislation will allow them to enter the job market and give them one less thing to worry about,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.

If enacted, the measure would make a student who graduates from college during the period beginning on Jan. 1, 2020 and ending on Dec. 31, 2020 eligible for a federal student loan deferment of up to three years; and would give the U.S. Secretary of Education authority to extend eligibility to 2021 and 2022 graduates if the anticipated economic impact of the coronavirus on graduates of that year necessitates such an extension, according to the text of the Senate bill.

“We’ve got to make long-term fixes to our student loan program, but this is a straightforward, bipartisan proposal that can bring recent grads relief right now,” said Rep. Harder.